imaging, improved airborne communication, forward-looking infrared systems, GPS-equipped glass cockpit avionics and geospatial information interoperability. CAP aircrews train alongside government officials and military personnel in air defense intercept missions, communication exercises and cybersecurity and even simulate unmanned aircraft to provide imagery training support for deploying forces.
On May 30, 2014, President Barack H. Obama signed legislation into law awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the approximately 200,000 World War II members of CAP. The medal is the country’s highest expression of appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. On Dec. 10, 2014, Speaker of the House John Boehner presented the medal to CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Joseph R. Vazquez and former U.S. Rep. Lester L. Wolff, himself a wartime member of the New York Wing.
This medal commemorates the organization’s unusual contributions in World War II. On its obverse, Stinson Voyager 10A aircraft armed with demolition bombs escort an oil tanker. The aircraft in the foreground has the coastal patrol roundel and the number “65,” representing the CAP members killed during the war. To the left, two civilian volunteers, a male coastal patrol observer and a female pilot, both vigilantly scan the sky.
On Aug. 28, 2015, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, announced CAP officially a member of the U.S. Air Force’s Total Force, joining the regular, guard and reserve forces as American airmen. CAP’s work in response to hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and other emergencies has continued to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and potential of dedicated volunteers who embody the CAP motto: Semper Vigilans . . . Always Vigilant.